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An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles · Poetry Short Short ·
Organised by Anon Y Mous
Word limit 100–2000
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A Quarter of the Living World
We scarcely know the way of things
As our brief lives each run their span,
How much our world of knaves and kings
Is full of Coleopterans.

They bumble through the dew soaked grass,
Stout shells protect their lacy wings.
Some guard themselves with bursts of gas,
Some leap and click as if by springs.

The pretty scarab shines on tombs,
But also they protect their young
Within auxiliary wombs
In unicycles made of dung.

We think the blighty biters cute,
They spare us from their nips and stings.
We rue the holes they leave in fruit
And tender leaves the garden brings.

We rarely state their praise aloud,
Or not in haunts where angel sings,
Yet thoughts may leave one beetle-browed
On nature’s tiny tangled strings.
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#1 ·
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
It's not a poem that brings out strong feelings or opinions in me, but I very much enjoy how the narrator sings their praise with such charming casual fondness.

My first impression was that this air of moderate appreciation was a perfect fit for the prompt, but even after looking up what "inordinate" means I still think it fits the poem perfectly. No grandeur needed. A sweet, lyrical "I just think they're neat."
#2 ·
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
The first couple of stanzas have some off stress patterns, but it mostly sticks to the structure. On in particular can hinge on a word having different pronunciations, perhaps regionally. Like auxiliary—I've mostly heard it pronounced as four syllables, as if the second "i" isn't there, but the line requires it to be five, and even then it's forced into the meter.

As to what happens in it, it' a fine low-key look at the benefits beetles give us even as we endure the minuses. It's cute. I do wonder who else is submitting prompts but doesn't participate.
#3 ·
A Quarter of the Living World

>>Corinna, >>Pascoite

Thanks for the kind comments! The prompt was a famous quote by J. B. S. Haldane, who was purportedly asked if his study of the natural world had revealed anything to him about its Creator.

This little poem did not emerge in the shape in which I imagined it, but I am pleased with how it came out.